Thursday 20 July 2017

Glenstal's devastating blitz bridges 47-year gap

Glenstal Abbey 21 Ard Scoil Rís 20

Darragh O'Grady of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Conan O'Sullivan of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Darragh O'Grady of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Conan O'Sullivan of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Glenstal Abbey won a thriller at Thomond Park to qualify for the final for the first time in 47 years.

The jubilation at the finish was understandable but spare a thought for Ard Scoil Ris, who battled back from being 21-0 down after only 19 minutes.

Colin Madden of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Jamie Mawhinney of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Colin Madden of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Jamie Mawhinney of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Outsiders Glenstal, playing brilliant, flowing rugby, made a whirlwind start and hit the front on three minutes. Five players were involved in a move that was finished by full-back Jack O'Mahony. Ben Healy landed the conversion.

Despite the slippery conditions Glenstal continued to move the ball about. A break by Ronan Quinn culminated in hooker George Downing barging over, and Healy added the extras from out wide.

Try No 3 came from another superb piece of play involving five handlers before Luke Fitzgerald sprinted over. Healy again converted.

But Ard Scoil Ris are noted for never surrendering and they got back into the game on 27 minutes. Craig Whelan tapped a penalty 10 metres out to set up a try for Alex O'Callaghan, with Craigh Casey converting.

Darragh O'Grady of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Rory Clarke, left, and Mark Fleming of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Darragh O'Grady of Ardscoil Rís is tackled by Rory Clarke, left, and Mark Fleming of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

A splendidly taken drop-goal by Evan Cusack left it 21-10 at half-time.

Nobody anticipated that Glenstal would not score again, and Ard Scoil continued to pile on the pressure, and a Casey penalty two minutes into the second half narrowed the gap further.

Both sides had a player binned with three minutes of each other, and the drama intensified when Colin Slater scored after he blocked down an attempted clearance to set up the dramatic finish.

But Glenstal held out to book in the decider - they face PBC at Thomond Park on St Patrick's Day.

Roy Whelan of Ardscoil Rís wins possession in a lineout ahead of Mark Fleming of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Roy Whelan of Ardscoil Rís wins possession in a lineout ahead of Mark Fleming of Glenstal Abbey. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Half-backs Thanade McCoole and Healy shone for Glenstal as did Ronan Quinn, Jack O'Mahony, Sean Scanlon-Garry, Shane Downes and skipper Rory Clarke.

Ard Scoil had outstanding performances from Casey and Evan Cusack, with Roy Whelan and Colin Slater doing well up front.

Glenstal Abbey - J O'Mahony; T Molony, J Mawhinney, L Fitzgerald, R Quinn; B Healy, T McCoole; S Scalon-Garry, G Downing, E Bergin; C O'Sullivan, S Downes; C booth, M Fleming, R Clarke.

Ard Scoil Ris - D O'Gorman; C O'Reilly, C madden, G Clancy, M Gorman; E Cusack, C Casey; A O'Callaghan, C Slater F Lyons; D O'Grady, R Whelan; L Clohessy, I Brown, O Ring.

Ref - T O'Donoughue (MAR).

Luke Fitzgerald of Glenstal Abbey is tackled by Sean Hanley of Ardscoil Rís. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Luke Fitzgerald of Glenstal Abbey is tackled by Sean Hanley of Ardscoil Rís. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

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